Twitter launches Curator to lure more media partners

Steven Loeb · March 31, 2015 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3ce6
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Twitter wants to give them the best possible content in order to monetize off-line tweets

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Twitter has made no bones about it: its user numbers are stagnating, and that means that it needs to start monetizing outside of the network. That means unique visitors who don't sign in and, more importantly, those who view tweets without ever signing up for the service. 

The company has a unique opportunity in this regard, with media companies and third party sites able to not only embed tweets, but to run tweet streams. The trick is to give them the best content to put on their sites, which Twitter can then monetize.

That is the idea behind Twitter's latest product: Curator, a new tool, revealed on Tuesday, for media partners to search, filter and curate Twitter for the content that they want to then displayed on their website, mobile app or even on TV. 

Twitter first gave a small taste of the service earlier this year, and it says, "Those who have been testing Curator have seen strong increases in audience engagement, participation and attention."

"With these encouraging results, we’re opening up the product to all media publishers around the world, for free. This includes news organizations, production companies, broadcasters, local governments, and even concert venues."

Here is how Curator works: publishers can use it to create complex keyword and hashtag queries to easily uncover streams of high quality Tweets. Those queries can then refined be refined even further, with options to search by follower counts, location, languages and more. From these search, publishers will create their collections, which they will then be able to display. It's all about giving media partners the ability to deliver the best possible content.

The example that Twitter gives involves Tweets including #MarchMadness, from users with 100+ followers located in the US. Publishers can then use Curator to display the best Tweets from that search into their mobile app, during a TV show broadcast, or on any screen regardless of size.

Publishers are also being given the opportunity to work with Twitter Certified Partners, including Flowics, Livefyre, ScribbleLive, Spredfast and Wayin. 

Once these publishers get all of this great content and display it, then what happens? Twitter makes money from it. Earlier this year, the social media company revealed its plans to sell advertisements within the streams of tweets that appear on apps and websites from other publishers

Gaining revenue from off-line users is becoming increasingly important to Twitter, as its user growth has stalled in the last year. 

In the fourth quarter, Twitter saw its average monthly active users (MAUs) grow only 20% year-to-year to 288 million, That reflected a loss of approximately 4 million net Monthly Active Users in the fourth quarter due to changes in third party integrations.

As a result of the user growth slowdown, the company's stock took a pretty bad beating in 2014.  The company started out the year trading at $65 a share, and ended the year at  $35.87. At no point after February did it trade above $50 a share, and it was able to rise about $40 in the last month of the year.

The stock has since bounced back a bit, ending trading on Tuesday at $50.08 a share, though it still hasn’t been able to gain enough ground to get back to its previous price.

(Image source: twitter.com)

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.

 

What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.

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